Ready for the avant-garde Italian style? (part 2)

Paolo Gioli, The Perforated Cameraman, 1979

“Entering an image” - this would be my title for the second part of the presentation by Bruno di Marino (details in part 1) on the 100 years of the Italian experimental cinema. The underlying assumption is that we need to pierce the photographic obviousness to get to reality. How? Following the Italians! For example:

“Film stenopeico” by Paolo Gioli. Due to a camera obscura technique, scenes of everyday reality acquire a haunting, bizarre dimension. Perhaps, more than our “anesthetic and well behaved” (meaning lying) ways of seeing, what Gioli proposes is closer than we think to what is really “out there.”

“Trasferimento di Modulazione” by Piero Bargellini, (1969) chemically manipulated old footage turns a porn scene into an abstract interplay of shapes, blobs and movements. As if saying that what first reaches us in dealing with the reality is not its neatly organized visual structure, focused details and clearly understood spacial relations but rather the sheer energy, emotion, expressiveness. Surely the theme helps in making this point.

A video by Michele Sambin, gradually multiplies and overlaps an image of the author’s head moving sideways in and out of the frame. The camera standing in front of “our” camera, shoots the head against a monitor on which it appears with a slight delay. Then the same image starts floating between “our camera” and the action. It also appears behind the monitor. Soon, it gets really crowded on the screen. Such approach produces a hypnotic, layered state of perception. What is “now”, when we see something?

Bruno says that the gap between the experimental and mainstream filmmaking is not as huge as we would assume. Weren’t Welles or Kubrick experimentalists? Among Polish filmmakers he considers Skolimowski, Kieslowski and Polanski (in such order) important innovators.

“He makes his films instinctively, immediately, with a draw of a great painter” says Bruno about one of the Italians. “Instinctively and immediately” is a wonderful phrase. The pubic senses and approves of something spontaneous and fresh versus calculated and rigidly prepared. Of course the masters are capable of “preparing and calculating” in such a way that their fresh insight is preserved throughout the production and miraculously reaches the viewer.

And finally, Ursula Ferrara, “Almost Nothing” (Quasi niente, 1997) - liquidity of reality uncovered by playfulness of happy, dynamic “one thing turns into other” style. Because isn’t everything connected?

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